Week 5 has left us with three winless teams, one undefeated teams, and a whole lot of talking points. But who wants talking points when you can have hot takes? Here are our immediate reactions to all the action from Sunday’s action
The 2004 class is DONE
The trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers has combined for 958 touchdowns since they entered the league in 2004, but they are all looking extremely long in the tooth now.
On Sunday they threw seven interceptions and seemed for all the world like they were done as top level quarterbacks. Big Ben mulled over retirement in the offseason, and questioned his own ability after his terrible performance against Jacksonville. Eli’s Giants are now 0-5 and look set for the kind of high draft pick where you find your quarterback of the future, while Philip Rivers was vocally against the Chargers move to LA, and seems to have been proven correct given that their new home has only played host to opposing fans.
Early season struggles have given way to serious questions about their ability to run an offense, and each team now has to consider where they will be next season. I expect to see changes at the position for all three teams.
Philadelphia will fly high
The Eagles handled a tough Arizona defense in dominant fashion. Carson Wentz has taken a huge step forward in Year 2 and finished with a ridiculous 90.8 QBR as he did a brilliant Tom Brady impression by distributing the ball to eight different receivers.
The Eagles’ credentials go further than just their young quarterback though. LeGarrette Blount has continued his dependable, defense-breaking, form and the defense is able to function very well without Fletcher Cox and Ronald Darby, making them even more dangerous when their stars return later in the year.
With the Cowboys shaky and New York done already, the NFC East is theirs for the taking, while none of the other NFC teams look infallible. This is the year the Eagles return to the playoffs.
Marshawn Lynch should have stayed retired
The addition of Marshawn Lynch to the Oakland Raiders was supposed to put them over the top for 2017, but instead it has actually slowed them down. Latavius Murray led the way on the ground last season with a mark of 4.0 yards per carry. Not great, and obviously something the Raiders wanted to improve on, but Lynch is operating at just 3.4 yards a carry so far in 2017.
It’s been the kind of season that is already making fans want to see more of Jalen Richard, because Gabe Jackson and Kelechi Osemele are still carving up defenses and he has been able to take advantage with his quickness.
The Rams aren’t winning the NFC West
The LA Rams have been red hot to start the season, but they are a long way from division-winning team. A Seattle offense that has been giving chances to even the worst teams couldn’t do enough to push Jared Goff over the top.
Without Cliff Avril and Jeremy Lane the Seattle defense were still able to harass and slow the highest scoring offense in the NFL. Speaking of which, it is clear now that the Rams’ opponents have played a big part in that stat. San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Dallas couldn’t stop Division III offense right now, never mind an NFL one.
The Rams have improved that’s for sure, but let’s cool the jets on their rise to the playoffs.
The Panthers are back
2016 was a disappointing season for a team coming off a 15-1 record and a trip to the Super Bowl. 2017 looked like it would be disappointing too after a slow start and offseason shoulder surgery for Cam, but the last two weeks have seen 60 points of offense, and good defense against a pair of impressive quarterbacks. With a more aggressive blitz scheme from new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Newton’s arm looking alive once again these Panthers are a dangerous side. At 4-1 they look set to make a run this year.
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